One of the things I get asked a lot is how I manage to find so many items in charity shops and while there isn't a magical formula there are some tips that I always go by!
1. Be Open Minded.
Although I have a general wishlist going on in my mind (Ive wanted a black jumpsuit for about 2 years now) don't feel dissapointed if you can't get exactly what you want. Its better to have a general idea of what you want. That said I remember one day in April when I wanted a black maxi dress, a striped dress, a denim jacket and some brogues and managed to get all things in one day!
2. Ignore sizings!
I cannot stress this one enough! I have clothes from a size 8 to a size 24, small to xx large and also shoes from a 5 to an 8 (when I am a 7). Things tend to end up in charity shops because whoever bought them didnt try them on and just went for their size and lo and behold it didnt fit. Also it depends how you like things to fit, I knew I wanted a baggy denim jacket so I made sure I bought it in a bigger size.
3. Look at a rail and feel the material.
I tend to go along a rail of clothing looking and feeling at the same time so that patterns and textures jump out to me. Sometimes I will like the look of something but it feels such bad quality I leave it. On the other hand I might be drawn to something in a pattern or colour I wouldnt't normally if it feels luxurious.
4. Have an idea of what you want to pay.
I think knowing that 90% of my wardrobe is from the charity shop I have a rough idea of what I want to pay for clothes. I will very rarely go above £5 for a dress unless I really love it, its designer or brand new with tags on. So I will often look at an item, decide in my head what I would be willing to pay and put it down if its more than that. Some shops such as the AGE UK will reduce items that have been there a while and so its worth going regularly.
5. Dont be dissapointed if you find nothing.
I have had days where I have trapsed around Leicester for hours and come home empty handed. Dont be tempted to just buy somthing because you dont want to go home empty handed, its such a waste of your money.
6. Visit shops regularly
I used to go into the shops most days on my way to work when I worked in the city centre but now I tend to visit once a week. Its worth asking when your favourite shops put new stock out, some its daily and others its weekly.
7. Wear something comfy and easy to get in and out of
If I am going into town for the sole purpose of charity shopping I generally wear a vest top and leggings. This means I can try things like coats, jumpers and dresses on in the shop (if there isnt a changing room or if its busy) some shops don't give refunds which leads me on to my next point ...
8. Try everything on!
This is something I have had to install as a sort of rule in my charity shopping bible over the last few months. I have had so many pieces that I was sure would fit and got home and found that they either didnt or they were super unflattering on my shape ( Lucky for you if you are coming to my frocktober event you will probably get your hands on some of these things)
9. Find good quality basics
While some shops price everything based on the brand, others tend to do blanket all pieces of a certain type for a set price. One of my favourite pieces I got in this kind of deal was a Zara skater skirt for £1. Its a deep forest green colour and I wear it all the time in the winter. Call me a charity shop snob but I begrudge paying for primark items when I know the higher branded items will last longer and more often than not be around the same price.
10. Enjoy Yourself!!
One of the most important things is to enjoy yourself. If charity shopping stresses you out then its not worth it. I love hunting for bargains and seeing what I can find. I spend ages going through all the rails, the homewear, talking to the staff (and making friends along the way)
So there you go! Do you have any tips that I may have missed out?
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